It's no secret that Taiwan experiences periodical earthquakes from time to time, and with some being more violent than others; it’s just a matter of when. On February 7th just a little before 4 pm when everyone was asleep, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the northeast City of Pingtung. The earthquake caused widespread damage and resulted in approximately 116 deaths following the collapse of a residential building in Tainan.

At the time when the earthquake struck, like most many others, I was in bed; fast asleep in a deep dream. I don’t consider myself a heavy sleeper, but following a busy schedule on that particular day, nothing could have come between me and my bed; so I thought. I was the only person staying in the room at the time, as my two roommates had left for Taipei on that same weekend.  At first I thought nothing of it being that I was having a good dream, hiking the mountains near the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) with friends. It wasn’t until I heard the loud banging of our closet doors and the toppling of some empty water bottles that was on my desk top that I frantically awoke from my sleep; trying to digest the situation. I thought I understood the meaning of fear. Sadly, it wasn’t until that moment that I hadn’t even come close to comprehending its true meaning. Without thinking twice, I found the courage to jump out; yes I said ‘jump out’ of my 2m high bunk and ran to the window. I was and am still currently living on the first floor of a 4 story high dorm building and the last thing on my mind at the time was for a rescue team to be pulling my body out of rubbles. At this point in time I might be giving the impression that I must be exaggerating a bit, but honestly, I was scared to hell! 

I was about to jump out the window when the violent shaking suddenly ceased. A great sense of relief overwhelmed me as I remained in my jumping position on the windowsill. I was glad of the fact that I didn’t have to jump out being that it had rained heavily the day before and I didn’t have to end up in the pool of water that usually takes time to settle behind our dorm; and all I had on was a pair of socks and short pants. I have never been in a situation like this, but I knew for a fact that there were inevitably going to have aftershocks. So, I remained crouched up on my windowsill, tensed with suspense and awaiting the worst.

About 10-15 minutes had past and my eyes started to grow weary and the urge to climb back into bed was high. I waited it out for an additional10 minutes when I finally gave in and went back to bed. At this point, all tensions as a result of the tremor have given way to sleep and I immediately fell back into another deep dream; forgetting about the horrible experience that occurred only moments ago. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that the structural integrity of our building outstood the violent shocks of the earthquake, with only minor damages being caused to a couple of motor bikes that had fallen over. There have been a total of 152 earthquakes in the past year with magnitudes averaging between 4.5 – 5-6. As I said in the beginning of this paper, it’s not a matter of whether an earthquake is likely to hit, but rather ‘when’ and ‘where.